In his great wisdom, King Solomon used a trick to elicit truth in a dispute between two women. “Oh, my lord” the first woman said to the king, “this woman and I dwell in the same house; and I gave birth to a child while she was in the house. Then on the third day after I was delivered, this woman also gave birth.. And this woman’s son died in the night, because she lay on it. And she arose at midnight. and took my son from beside me, while our maidservant slept, and laid it in her bosom, and laid her dead son in my bosom.” The second woman claimed the opposite.
Solomon listened and then said, “Bring me a sword.” A sword was brought forth. Then the king said, “Divide the living child in two and give half to the one and half to the other.” The first woman was distressed by the judgement. “Oh, my lord, give her the living child, and by no means slay it.” But the other woman said, “It shall be neither mine nor yours; divide it.” The king knew the true mother of the living child would rather have lost the child than to see it slaughtered.
Solomon commanded, “Give the living child to the first woman, and by no means slay it, she is its mother.”